Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Lake Erie & Western New York Fishing Hotline

November 29 to December 13, 2019

Lake Erie Tributaries

Lake Erie tributary flows came up a bit on Wednesday and peaked Thanksgiving morning, but levels have been falling rather quickly over past 24 hours. The smaller creeks are in good fishing shape at present. Streams such as Cayuga, Buffalo, Eighteenmile and Chautauqua Creeks are running slightly high and stained today, but should be in prime fishing shape this weekend. Cattaraugus Creek is too high to fish at about 900 cubic feet per second. Flows under 500 cubic feet per second are best on Catt Creek. Anglers report decent steelhead action on the streams lately. Fish are spread throughout the creeks' reaches, however recent concentrations and catches have been better in the lower sections. Fly anglers typically target steelhead by drifting egg patterns, trout beads, nymphs and woolly buggers or by swinging streamers. Egg sacs, trout beads, pink plastic worms and jigs are common offerings by spinning or center pin drifters. For those new to steelhead fishing, see the Steelhead Fishing in Lake Erie Tributaries page.

Niagara River

Muskellunge, tiger muskellunge and regular black bass seasons close after Nov.30 on upper Niagara River. Anglers may still target bass by catch and release only, artificial lures only. Casting spoons or drifting egg sacs can produce rainbow trout catches from Broderick Park and Bird Island Pier during late fall.

Wednesday's high winds sent muddied waters down the Niagara River, impacting fishing for a few days. As clarity improves, look for the bite to pick back up along the shoreline first. Prior to the blow, both boat and shore anglers were enjoying a good bite for a mix of steelhead, lake trout and brown trout. Be aware that lake trout season is currently closed on the lower river and will reopen on Jan.1. Incidentally caught lake trout should be immediately released. Trout action had been best for boaters in the Devils Hole, Artpark and Coast Guard drifts. Controlled drifting with a three-way bottom bouncing rig and egg sacs, trout beads, shiners, Kwikfish and Mag Lips lures works well. Shore anglers were doing well at Artpark, Devils Hole and Whirlpool State Parks. Egg sacs, trout beads, egg pattern flies, shiners or jigs fished under a float, or casted spoons and spinners are good trout offerings. Casting spoons and spinners from docks at Fort Niagara is also producing some trout catches. Muskellunge and tiger muskellunge seasons extend through December 15th on the lower river. The NYPA fishing platform is closed today due to high water. All angler access (platform, stairs to shoreline, parking lot) at the NYPA Power Vista will close for the winter season as of Dec.1. For fishing access maps and lower river fishing information see the Fishing the Lower Niagara River page.

Lake Ontario & Tributaries, Harbors & Piers

Fishing on the Lake Ontario tributaries is now primarily for a mix of brown trout and steelhead, although the odd fresh salmon can still surprise you. Atlantic salmon are a possible catch at Oak Orchard Creek as well. Erie Canal drainage ended on or around November 25th and water levels have since dropped to moderate to slightly low and clear on Eighteenmile and Oak Orchard Creeks. The other small to medium sized creeks are currently in good fishing shape with moderate flows. Those new to tributary salmon fishing see the Pacific Salmon Fishing in Lake Ontario Tributaries page for more information.

Chautauqua Lake

Walleye fishing has been decent to good in 25-50 feet of water around the deeper holes in the north basin. Jigging with bladebaits, jigging minnows, and spoons works well. Trolling is a better tactic for those targeting walleye in the south basin. Yellow perch and sunfish are available in nearshore areas around weed beds. Small minnows, worms and small ice fishing jigs tipped with a grub work well. Muskellunge and regular black bass seasons close on November 30. However, anglers may still target bass by catch and release only, artificial lures only. Visit the Chautauqua Lake page for more fishing information.

Surplus Broodstock Trout Stocking

Between Oct. 17 and Oct. 24, DEC Randolph Fish Hatchery completed their annual fall stocking of broodstock trout in select Allegany and Cattaraugus County waters. All breeder trout are over 2 years old and are stocked in waters where trout fishing is permitted all year. The following waters were stocked: Quaker Lake received 550 brown trout (12"-24") and 335 rainbow trout (18"-28"); Red House Lake received 605 brown trout (12"-18"); Allen Lake received 170 brook trout (12"-18"), 50 brown trout (12") and 50 rainbow trout (22"); Harwood Lake received 225 brown trout (12"-24"); Case Lake received 660 brook trout (12"-18"), 280 brown trout (12"-24") and 170 rainbow trout (22"-28"); New Albion Lake received 250 brown trout (12"-24") and 50 rainbow trout (22"); Genesee River received 600 brown trout (12"-24") and 300 rainbow trout (22"-28"), stocked between Wellsville and the PA line.

If you need more fishing information or would like to contribute to the fishing report, please call or e-mail Mike Todd (716-851-7010; Good Luck Fishing!

The fishing hotline can also be heard at (716) 679-ERIE or (716) 855-FISH.